Brute Reason

A collection of thoughts about psychology, social justice, and anything else I give a shit about. freethoughtblogs.com/brutereason

Topics: feminism / psychology / lgbtq / sex / politics / abortion / health / mental illness / language / depression / sexism / sexual assault / fashion / racism / education / social justice

my actual writing, if you're curious

Simulations appear to be one of society’s ways of trying to generate sympathy and compassion among more privileged members of communities vis a vis their relationship with more marginalised groups. Thus you have the ‘blue eyes, brown eyes’ simulation used in civil rights education, disability simulations involving wearing clunky gloves or strange glasses, and exercises in wearing clumsy fat suits. People are required to engage in these ludicrous exercises for anywhere from an hour to a few days, all the while learning about ‘what it’s like for them,‘ often followed by a ‘meaningful reflection’ on the process in the form of a navelgazing essay about how much they learned during their experience.

They never write about what it was like to have blue eyes and be briefly relegated to the back of the classroom, or how it’s difficult to open a jar of pickles when your hands are encased in welding gloves, or how hard it is to take a whizz in a fat suit. They write about what it must be like to be Black (or to have been Black, because civil rights education often presents racial discrimination as a thing of the past), they write about what it’s like to be disabled, what it’s like to be fat.

Even though they haven’t actually had any of these experiences and can’t be said to have had them. They had a simulation, often a poor one at that, a vague attempt at distilling a complex lived experience into a few hours of existence, without a lifetime of experience. Black children are born Black. They grow up Black. They spend their lives with the awareness of Blackness, of experiencing a racist society, of knowing to their bones that they’re considered less than human. Fat people spend years enduring stigma, just as disabled people do.

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